Sunday, February 20, 2011

Things Fall Apart

Every few months, things seem to be fall apart.

It starts off with me not doing well in school. Then it starts affecting my social life. Then other more physical things start getting affected.

Every time this happens, I think one thing: this wouldn’t be happening if things were different for me.

I would be doing a lot better in med school if the accident never happened. The brain injury I suffered really may or may not actually be affecting me in a neurological sense, but the doubt instilled in me by the people around me because of it certainly has. Am I really dumber? I feel dumber. I know I could be doing better.

Simple things take longer for me to do, and I can’t help but think I could save a lot of time or go to places easier if I wasn’t in a chair. So, my education and social life has certainly suffered. With one aspect suffering, the other probably responded by also suffering, thus creating a vicious cycle.

My health is not exactly great right now and I know I should get it checked out because it could be something serious. But right now I have more important priorities that deserve my time, I think. If it’s not serious, I’ll regret ever wasting my time, so I just ignore it.

A friend is annoyed at me because I’m too friendly, I guess. A few people I was good friends with were in town this past weekend, but didn’t feel obligated to let me know or try and see me. I think they felt like they were friends with the old Hammad anways.

Now that things are troubling my mind, other things come up that serve to remind me that I’m different. The backrest on my wheelchair is broken in one spot, so I sometimes have to spend extra time fixing it when I am getting out of the car. The handle I use to transfer in and out of the car is also breaking, so I’m taking extra time now while getting in and out of the car by a different method. This is while I hope and pray that my arms/balance don’t give out or my legs don’t spasm mid-transfer and I end up with my butt hitting the parking lot floor. One anti-tip bar that prevents my chair from falling backwards (especially useful when my backpack is heavy) is loose and could easily break off at an inopportune time, which would cause me to bust my head if I ever tip back.

All these things just make me think about what things were like before and if I can recreate them now.

I know I’m not dumb. Well… I think I’m not dumb. So why do I keep making stupid mistakes? I stop and think about how I did things before so I can go back to being the person who was smarter, better, stronger. Maybe I can go back. Maybe I can excel at things again. Maybe people will see me for who I really am.

“I’m actually surprised you got this far,” someone important said to me. Sweet.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’m supposed to be studying for a huge final exam I have on Friday. I can’t focus so I decided to try and clear my mind.

I know I’m not supposed to think about “if” statements. “If this had not happened… maybe I’d be doing better.” “If this had not happened... maybe people would like me better.” “If this had not happened… I wouldn’t be trying to figure out this or that situation." Those statements will drive a man crazy so I’ve done my best to avoid those thoughts.

But it’s hard not to think them sometimes, like when things seem to be falling apart.

“You can plan a pretty picnic but you can’t predict the weather.” – Outkast


I wrote the things above earlier when I was really frustrated. Since then, I have reevaluated things and realized that it doesn’t make sense to think those kinds of things. It doesn’t help anyone. There is nothing to do but to learn from these obstacles and keep on going. Find something new.

Alfred Pennyworth: “Took quite a fall, didn't we, Master Bruce?”
Thomas Wayne: “And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”


  1. hammad, i have no doubt in my mind that you've got this, inshaAllah. but you NEED to take care of yourself, brother <3

  2. Hey Hammad, I think a lot of us have those "what if's", even though we did not go thru an accident that completely changed the way we have to go about our everyday lives. I do know what it is to be in your position.. and yet I still have many "why's" and "what if's"... "why am not able to do as well in school as I used to", "what if I had done this...", "why do I have to spend more time studying than everyone else and still not get thru everything"...
    So I have no doubt that you probably have a lot more "what if's" and frustration sometimes... but you are also right that those thoughts can drive a person crazy and we should try our best to look forward instead.
    Obstacles do make us stronger, but if you got this far is simply because of who you are... and no one should be surprised that you did get this far or that you will keep going further.

    Take care of yourself, Julie.
    P.S.: I actually had something similar to “I’m surprised you got this far” said to me on Friday.. makes me wonder if it was by the same person.

  3. Heyy buddy,

    It takes a lot of courage to explore these negative thoughts and question them. You're not alone at all. I haven't been through an accident but I do have many of those identical doubts on a daily basis. You are handling more than most of us and still doing a wonderful job on top of that! This period of life has taught me that effort does not always translate to results: clear and simple. All we can do is give it our all and get the best education possible. And hey, about the "I'm surprised you got here" comment, I've been there as well. Let them be surprised, now and later. You're the one who will be happier for it.

  4. 1. I'm NOT surprised you got this far! I always knew you would.

    2. When I read "good friend" I immediately thought of myself. Rest assured I was not in town last week. In fact, I haven't been in Athens for almost 2 years...I consider that a positive.

    3. Like you, I should be working right now. I have a research design due in about 12 hours. What am I doing right now? Focus!

    4. Sharing your thoughts, good and bad, takes honesty and courage.

    5. Who says you can't predict the weather when planning a picnic...umm, J/K

  5. Wasn't this past weekend India Night? From what I remember, that weekend was always tons of drama in Athens anyway - so count your blessings you didn't have to interact with anyone then! :)

    And I totally relate on the "what ifs." It is extremely tempting to sometimes question why things played out the way they did and how much "better" it would be if things were different. But at the end of all that questioning - we're the only ones left unhappy...not to mention Allah swt dislikes that kind of bitter questioning of what He has ultimately destined for you. He didn't create us to harm us, these tests in life are for our own good. If we can just somehow fix that in our minds, I really think iA all of us could become stronger. So props to you for getting the negativity out of your system and then realizing that it's not constructive.

    Take care of yourself...and your car door and wheelchair for that matter. Good luck with that upcoming exam! ..and I hope I get to see you soon inshaAllah.


  6. hammad you continue to inspire me to be amazing, simply because you are amazing. you are. you are. you are. I am in awe my dear friend, in awe. You've come so far, you've got this. You've got it. :)

  7. I'm not trying to be funny...but there's a rhythm to Nupur's can sing it:

    "hammad you continue to inspire me to be amazing, simply because you are amazing. (OOOoooo) you are. you are. you are. (OOOoooo)I am in awe my dear friend, in awe. You've come so far, you've got this. You've got it."

  8. yo bro, i know yall got it pretty rough over there at mcg, but med school in general tests you in ways like no other. It challenges ppl not only academically, but socially, mentally, and physically. But just remember, what doesnt kill you can only make you stronger.

    And as for the friends that didnt come through, be the bigger man and just give them the benefit of the doubt and move-on (which i know from experience is not easy to do).